Let's talk coffee.
If you think Seattle and Starbucks go hand in hand, think again. I mean, don't get me wrong, the Seattle-based company gets their share of business - there's always that line outside the Starbucks on the corner next to the Starbucks across from the Starbucks (thanks Ellen).It's just that the idea of mass production leads many of us to seek out less depleted pastures. Moo.
Here's a list of where I go for the most delicious coffee, creative latte art and insta-worthy aesthetics in the city.
LONDON PLANE - No lattes here, coffee comes black with the optional cream and sugar, but the ambiance can't be beat. Large windows flood each table with light. A flower shop welcomes you at the entrance and a small boutique with local products will beckon you to the back.
ELM COFFEE ROASTERS - They roast their in-season beans in-shop and they're not too shabby on the eyes either. Their large windows give off tons of light to perfect the photos you know you'll want to take. They also offer hazelnut milk as an alternative, whereas most cafes only have soy and almond.
MR. WEST - Aesthetics on point. If you're looking for insta famous bloggers or just really good looking people, this is the place. And this is probably the only place. Seattle notoriously dresses down on all occasions. The food here is just as good as it looks, and it's easy to switch from coffee to beer or wine whenever the mood strikes.
ANCHORHEAD - Sits photogenically right across the street from Mr. West. A beautiful space likely to be filled with business suits.
MOORE COFFEE - Only go there for the whimsical latte art, the coffee itself is just ok.
STREET BEAN - Not only do they serve good coffee, pastries and sandwiches, they also serve as a catalyst to help youth on the street improve their lives and achieve success. They have a second location in the University District.
CHERRY STREET - With 10 locations and the best mocha you will ever have. EVER. You really can't go wrong with this one. Each location has a unique neighborhood feel and they also have real food, like, beyond pastries. Three of them even have Persian food which, in case you don't know, is pretty mind-blowing.
VOXX - Works with Lighthouse Roasters and is very serious about their coffee. They have a nice space to work in and quite a few gluten-free items on display. They have a second location in Eastlake.
STARBUCKS PIKES PLACE - It's the first Starbucks EVER, so I mean, if you want to get all touristy this is your spot. There's always a loooong line, but there are also plenty of street musicians and strangers to watch while you wait. When you get inside you'll see it's basically a museum. Prepare to get sentimental.
LE PANIER - While you're at Pike's Place Market, you'll want to grab some coffee at Le Panier. They use Café Umbria roasters with local dairy and vegan options. Also, you won't want to miss their seasonal French pastries. I've included a picture for your viewing pleasure.
ODDFELLOWS - Beautiful space, with high ceilings and a hidden garden patio in the back. Creative, locally-inspired dishes. Great for working solo, meeting in small groups and people watching.
STARBUCKS RESERVE - If you're a really big fan of SB or Howard Schultz, you'll want to try their newest concept - a coffee shop that serves alcohol. And Italian food, including pizza. It's the first of it's kind and there's free parking.
COYLE'S BAKESHOP - This little shop has some of the best coffee I've had in Seattle. Or anywhere really. It's always smooth and the beans they use have a unique flavor, or maybe it's the way they pull the shots. They also have delicious pastries. My favorites are the cretzel (croissant/pretzel), the seasonal olive oil cakes and fruit pastries. Definitely take home a jar of their house made jam. The salads are also to die for.
RETREAT - This indoor/ outdoor café lives up to it's name. Situated directly across from Seattle's favorite recreational lake, this is the place you want to go after jogging, biking, paddle boarding up an appetite. Everyone and their dog will be there. I recommend trying the cardamom beet latte with hemp milk. It's absolutely the smoothest, sweetest and creamiest topped with edible roses. While you're at it, order the avo toast, it's no joke.
ZOKA - If you're looking for sustainable, single origin beans, Zoka is family direct trade. If you just got lost in translation, you might want to go somewhere else. Or get educated. Zoka cares - A LOT - about coffee and the community. The pastries and unlimited wifi make it a great place to work or meet up with friends. They've got several other locations in the University District, South Lake Union and Kirkland.
BASTILLE - This is more of a restaurant with a distinct European feel and rooftop garden, but they also serve lattes & cappuccinos, and it's really really pretty. Located next to the Sunday Farmer's Market (one of the best in Seattle)
BESALU - This café recently changed ownership, now owned by Herkimer Coffee, but the menu has stayed the same. The one thing that's changed? They're now open 7 days a week. If any of you are missing the original owners (the beloved three times James Beard Award semi-finalists) you can keep up with their new life in actual Besalu here
PRESERVE & GATHER - Another place with great tasting coffee and beautiful interior design. The space is light and airy, much like many of their pastries. I usually get their seasonal pickle vegetable & egg platter with a slice of toasted sourdough. I also really like their spelt fig bars, marmalade cakes and homemade jams. The menu changes frequently and sells out fast.
JAVA BEAN - An organic café serving the best mole mochas in town. They have local nibbles and their bagel and lox sandwiches which are to die for. They also have outdoor seating, which is perfect on sunny days. We do actually have those. Sometimes.
SLATE - If you're looking for a unique, sophisticated experience, walk in and order a deconstructed latte. It will be brought out in 3 wine glasses, better to see the color and taste the aromatics as you swirl it. The tasting flight is also a standout. They have a rare selection of beans and use milk from a local dairy. Although the do have a small pastry menu, this is not a café. This is a place for the serious connoisseur or the simply curious.
MACRINA - Some consider this the gold standard of Seattle cafes. With only three locations, Queen Anne, Downtown & SoDo, Macrina has managed to make itself known in all four corners. Their pastries and baked goods are sold in nearly every coffee shop and café that doesn't expressly make their own, and for good reason. DO try the seasonal quiche and spinach brioche. DO NOT bring your gluten free friend.